Starting quarterback Kyle Snyder will miss the season with a knee injury suffered in Friday's practice.
Snyder, a sophomore transfer from Football Bowl Subdivision member Ohio University, tore the ACL in his right knee while making a cut during the Redhawks' ninth day of camp. No contact was involved.
"He just makes a cut with nobody around him," Southeast coach Tony Samuel said following Saturday's first scrimmage of camp at Houck Stadium. "I really feel bad for him. He has a lot of experience and ability. ... He really has worked hard at it. But he's young. He'll have plenty of time to play."
Samuel knows nobody will feel sorry for the Redhawks, especially their opponents.
"It's a big blow, but we just have to move on," Samuel said. "Everybody has to step up, not just the [other] quarterbacks."
Southeast players were taking the same approach Saturday even as they expressed plenty of empathy for Snyder.
"It's definitely a blow," senior tailback Renard Celestin said. "He was our guy. We've got a lot of love for him. But at the same time, we can't stop. If you overcome adversity, you'll be better in the long run.
"As long as we stay together ... stay positive, that's all we can do."
Said preseason All-American senior offensive tackle Evan Conrad: "It's unfortunate. He was doing really well. But nobody is going to feel sorry for us."
Redshirt freshman Scott Lathrop appears to be in line to replace Snyder. He took the majority of the snaps during Saturday's scrimmage and performed well.
"He stepped up," Celestin said. "We've got a lot of confidence in him."
Lathrop put up prolific passing and running numbers at Warrenton (Mo.) High School while operating an option-based offense that is similar to Southeast's.
Lathrop, who spent last year practicing with the Redhawks as a redshirt during his initial college season, says he's up to the challenge.
"It hurt. It's just a tough blow. It's a shame, but we have to stick together," Lathrop said about Snyder's injury. "I know the offense well. With the guys I have around me, it makes it easier to be comfortable. With the coaches we have, the way they prepare us, it makes it easier to execute."
Lathrop completed all five of his passing attempts for 72 yards Saturday. He scored the only touchdown of the day on a 1-yard run.
"I feel like I did well. I managed the offense pretty well," Lathrop said. "The guys have confidence in me, and I have confidence in myself to manage this offense."
Southeast's other quarterbacks are third-year sophomore Tyler Peoples, who has battled injuries since coming to Southeast and missed a lot of practice time, along with true freshmen Blake Jackson and Colby Baker.
None of Southeast's four healthy quarterbacks has taken a snap in a college game.
Jackson followed Lathrop for the most playing time Saturday. He completed 2 of 5 passes for 21 yards.
"They both did some good things," Samuel said.
Samuel seemed fairly comfortable with Lathrop leading the offense, but he said nothing is set in stone.
"Scotty's a guy with the most experience. He's very competitive," Samuel said. "The next couple of weeks will give us a better picture. They all have things they offer."
Snyder, who compiled solid statistics in limited action as a redshirt freshman backup at Ohio last season, was upbeat after watching the scrimmage while on crutches.
"It'll work out," he said. "I'll come back stronger next year."
Snyder will have at least two seasons of eligibility remaining and maybe three if the NCAA grants him a medical hardship for this year. He already has used up a redshirt season.